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Four Balls In One Shot

Since coming to the United States almost 25 years ago, Ewa Mataya Laurance has revolutionized the world of professional billiards, proving that a woman need not sacrifice glamour on the path to becoming one of the greatest pool players ever.

Her grace and unique look earned her the nickname "The Striking Viking." On Thursday, she will be inducted into the Billiard Congress of America Hall of Fame in Las Vegas, but on Wednesday, she was at The Early Show to show weatherman Dave Price how the railroad shot is done.

Surprised after two failed attempts, she let Price give it a shot. She says, "I'll set up a shot for you. We haven't rehearsed this, which is probably a good thing," because when she rehearsed her shots, she made every single one. But when she tried to do it on the broadcast, she failed.

With her direction, Price got four balls in one shot to his surprise.

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Laurance started playing pocket billiards in her native town of Gavle, Sweden, at the age of 14. Three years later, she won the European Championship in Bern, Switzerland. As a result, she was asked to represent Europe at the World Championships in New York City. At that point, Laurance made the decision to make the United States her home.

Since then, she has not only been successfully competing on the Women's Professional Tour, with consecutive years as the No.1 ranked player in the world, and with numerous WPBA Tour titles, but has also become widely recognized as one of the great international ambassadors for the sport, promoting pocket billiards worldwide.

She currently serves as the president of the Women's Professional Billiard Association and is the only professional player representative for Brunswick Billiards.

She says, "When I started playing, it was kind of 'What's a nice girl like you doing in a game like this?' attitude. Pretty funny. Our WBPA tour is televised on TV now. Most teenagers want a Brunswick table in their home. It's a great thing to keep teenagers at home - a lot of upscale billiard rooms, a lot of changes."

Only four other women have been inducted into the hall of fame, in comparison to 42 men. Of particular importance is that Laurance was inducted under the category of "Greatest Player."

She has written three books, one of which is "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Pool and Billiards."

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